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The Annual Jack T. Sanders Memorial Award

This award for excellence in undergraduate research and writing in the field of Religious Studies was established in the memory of Jack T. Sanders through the generous donations of his beloved wife, Susan Elizabeth Plass, and many others. For more on Jack Sanders, his life, and his contributions to the Department of Religious Studies, please see below.

The Sanders award is given to the best paper in religious studies written by an undergraduate during the academic year (any paper completed from the end of the spring term to the end of the next winter term). The paper must be written for an upper-level (300 or above) course in religious studies or a closely related subject area.

Papers must be nominated by a University of Oregon faculty member. Faculty members may identify and nominate papers, but students who would like to be considered for the award are also strongly encouraged to contact faculty members to discuss a nomination. Prior to submitting the paper for consideration, students are welcome to make revisions if they so choose. Faculty should send nominations, with the student paper attached, to Jeff Schroeder:

Deadline for receipt of nominations: April 15 of Spring Term

After receiving the nominated papers, faculty in the Department of Religious Studies will select a winner before the end of the spring term. Award winners will receive a $500 prize.

Previous winners:


Year Student Paper Title
2016 Will Dickerson (UO ’17) “Meeting in the Field of Non-Duality: A Comparative Approach to Rumi and Ryokan”
Michelle Maujean (UO ’16)
2017 Daniel Sanders


About Jack Sanders:

Jack Thomas Sanders (1935-2016) taught in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Oregon from 1969 until his retirement in 2002. During that time, Sanders frequently served as department head, successfully advocating for the continuation of religious studies in the face of persistent budget cuts. Sanders was the author of numerous scholarly articles and books. Most of his published work deals with one of two subjects: the way in which religious ideas flowed and adapted from one culture to another, and the origins of Jewish-Christian conflicts. After retiring and moving to Pendleton, Oregon, Sanders became interested in local history. Sanders had a formative impact on the Department of Religious Studies, and his influence continues to be felt today.

Key Works by Jack Sanders:

The New Testament Christological Hymns: Their Historical Religious Background (1971).

Ethics in the New Testament: Change and Development (1975).

Ben Sira and Demotic Wisdom. Chico, CA: Scholars Press (1983).

The Jews in Luke-Acts. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press (1987).

Schismatics, Sectarians, Dissidents, Deviants:The First One Hundred Years of Jewish-Christian Relations (1993).

Charisma, Coverts, and Competitors: Societal and Sociological Factors in the Success of Early Christianity (2000).

Samuel Rothchild: A Jewish Pioneer in Eastern Oregon in the Days of the Old West (2011).

War on All Fronts: Oregonians Remember the Second World War (with the Umatilla County Historical Society, 2015).